Ohio joins the list of American states that move to legalize hemp and cannabidiol oil (CBD) products through a bill passed by the Ohio General Assembly. The voting turned 88-3 to positively favor CBD and hemp validation and use.
These products have been previously classified under drugs category Schedule 1, which denotes that they are as dangerous as marijuana, a cannabis product that has more THC levels than hemp or CBD. The newly elected bill is set to differentiate hemp and CBD from the dependency-inducing marijuana through lower THC composition.
How the Farm Bill Affected Ohio’s Decision
The Ohio State’s CBD and hemp legalization bill is an answer to the Federal mandate passed last year, which is the Farm Bill, signed into law last December 20, 2018.
The nation’s legislative branch moved to exclude hemp from the Schedule 1 category and instead treats it as any of the land’s agricultural crop. Ohio responds by permitting the cultivation of industrial hemp granted that it follows the >0.3% allowable THC levels. The cultivators must also be licensed and that the government should always be able to track hemp grower’s areas.
Industrial hemp, although sourced from the same plant species (Cannabis sativa) as marijuana, is made from distinguished cultivars or varieties.
Since then, many of the country’s states have passed their updated regulations on cannabis products, leaving Ohio to be one of the few places that were yet to honor the said law.
Ohio’s newly passed bill was drafted to comply and execute the law, which is a positive resolution to the call from business sectors and Ohio farmers of clarifying state regulations regarding cannabis.
Uncertainty as bill undergoes a protocol
Before it can take effect as a new law in the state of Ohio, the bill must secure Governor Mike DeWine’s signature first. It is also eyed by critics, falling under scrutiny as to its implementation and legality.
For Ohio co-founder of the Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, Tim Johnson, small enterprises and local farmers can see a prosperous future should the bill be made into law. It is backed by local business as well, enhancing the possibility of CBD and hemp legalization in the state.
However, it’s also a topic of growing debate of whether federal regulations justify the passing of this bill. Kyle Koehler, House Agriculture Committee chairman notes answers by saying that the state should move quickly regarding the matter to catch up with neighboring states as well.
More about the bill
A House bill typically follows the 90-day effectivity after the legislation’s session ends, but the said bill is categorized under Immediate Effect. This is to cope with Ohio’s delayed response to the Federal law.
The state is looking forward to setting up various programs as soon as the law takes effect so that licensed cultivators can avail of higher yields and more profit while being closely monitored by the government.
CBD, a cannabis product with potential health benefits, will also be legal in terms of processing, production, sale, and circulation within the state.